Packer's Crown Resorts seals $370m Las Vegas land sale


Packer's Crown Resorts seals $370m Las Vegas land sale - 29th January 2018

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Sin City: James Packer has pulled back from his ambition to turn Crown into a global casino empire Photo: AFP

 

by Nick Toscano

Billionaire James Packer's Crown Resorts has sold its stake in a large site on the world-famous gambling strip, Las Vegas Boulevard, as the company continues withdrawing from its overseas ambitions.

The ASX-listed casino giant told the market on Monday it had finalised the sale of its interest in the 14-hectare vacant Las Vegas site, where it had once planned to build a casino, to a subsidiary of Wynn Resorts.

Crown's share of the proceeds of the $370 million sale would be about $325 million, the company said in a statement.

The divestment comes after Crown Resorts embarked on a large-scale debt-cutting drive, and decided to scrap its strategy of becoming an global casino and hotel empire, selling its stake in a former joint-venture casino in Macau and shelving plans to build a new casino in Las Vegas.

At Crown's latest annual general meeting, Mr Packer conceded that his ambition of expanding Crown Resorts internationally had failed, in a large part due to the 2016 arrest and jailing of Crown staff in China for the illegal promotion of gambling on the country's mainland.

"We didn't succeed in a global strategy," Mr Packer said at the meeting in October.

Following the China arrests scandal, Crown turned its focus squarely on its operations in Melbourne and Perth, and its long-delayed VIP casino in Sydney's Barangaroo.

Crown also noted on Monday that it had written down the carrying value of its investment in its Las Vegas subsidiary, Alon, to $200 million, in June 2017.

Crown first announced the Las Vegas sale last year, as part of a $700 million package of asset sales in Australia and overseas.

Among the other sales announced by the company in December were more than $70 million worth of shares in US casino giant Caesars; its 62 per cent stake in online corporate bookmaker CrownBet, and two floors of its new luxury Sydney complex to Mr Packer, its largest shareholder.

(The Sydney Morning Herald)